Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crisp Gingerbread with Pecans

This was the first of the "12 Days of Cookies" series of recipes that I somehow signed myself up for. Let's just say that so far it's been the only damn day of cookies although they keep sending me a new recipe every day since.

I must have missed something vital with this recipe. I got the "gingerbread" and "pecans" part of it right, but it was about as crisp as rice pudding. As in, not so much the crisp as bendy. If bendy cookies were the goal, then I would have aced this recipe. I have no idea what happened.

With the exception of not bothering to make sure all my stupid pecan pieces were perfect halves, I didn't alter any ingredients for this one. I even went and bought fancy molasses and allspice that I will probably never use again. Then, one day, similar to my mother, I will discover 30-year old molasses in my cupboard and worry people by threatening to bake with it. In her case, it was corn syrup as old as her firstborn, but you get my point.

Another thing that rubbed salt in the wound of these cookies was the dough. Now I know what wrestling with gingerbread-scented super glue feels like. I even chilled the dough overnight, figuring more is better than less as directed. Thank goodness for the wax paper. Without it, I'd probably still be scraping horridly-adherent gingerbread dough off my kitchen counter, floor, stove, cookie cutters, and self.

Maybe I let it stand at room temperature too long? Granted, I was updating my status and packing to spend the day in the GTA, but I didn't let the time get completely out of hand. I had to keep throwing it back in the fridge while rotating through the three sections, and eventually I was putting it in the freezer to try and keep it cold enough to work with. It could have been the fact that I was wrestling with the dough next to the oven which was preheating. Could that have done me in? I just don't know.

Also to annoy me with this recipe, the darn cookies spread out while baking to become unrecognizable in their roles as gingerbread persons and bloody Christmas trees. Here's my chance to use my new holiday cookie cutters from Jenny, and the stupid cookies go all transformer on me! They look like seriously bloated people and arrowheads. Grrrr. I had to explain to my friends later that day that the thin, weird-looking treats I had made for them were, in fact, edible, just misshapen. I daren't ask as to whether anybody actually ate theirs.

I know I rolled the dough no more than 1/4" thick. I know this because I got a ruler and measured it so I'm eliminating that as a source for my disaster. The cookies cutters were not the 3.5 cm square as suggested, nor were they floured after more than one attempt, but I seriously doubt they're the trouble makers. They're just cute.

The first batch of gingerbread people and trees each got a non-perfect pecan gently pressed into them, but after they fell apart when I tried to transfer their baked selves to the racks to continue cooling, I chucked the pecans and just left the cookies plain. Did I mention I started baking at 8am, and was just wrapping up two hours later as I was supposed to be leaving for Toronto? So much for a stress-free start to the festive season.

So, long story short, if you try this recipe, please let me know how your version turns out. Also, if you have any ideas - based on my notes in this blog entry - where I went wrong, constructive criticism is always welcome. Leave me a comment or drop me a line:

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